R. Clarke Speaks
Many clients come to our offices hoping to get a legal annulment rather than a divorce. They can be quite disappointed when we have to tell them the annulment option is just not available in their case.
Clients believe three myths about annulment in North Carolina:
- It’s easier—and often quicker—to get an annulment than a divorce.
- An annulment is simpler than a divorce, with fewer complications to your life afterward.
- An annulment is always possible in the first few weeks after you get married, in case you realize it was all a horrible mistake.
None of these are true.
Annulment: It’s like divorce PLUS
It’s not easier to get an annulment than a divorce. You have to go through most of the same procedures as a divorce, including filing a complaint with the court system, and in addition you need to be prepared to prove the grounds for an annulment. The legal burden is much higher than for a no-fault divorce in North Carolina. You will need the services of an experienced Wilmington family law attorney to have any reasonable hope of winning the case.
The grounds for annulment are deliberately very limited. In particular, there is no general “buyer’s remorse” clause. Even if you find great disappointment in your marriage—or in your new spouse—you have committed yourself to this marriage, and in most cases it will take a minimum period of a year to dissolve the marriage through a divorce.
Unraveling a marriage through annulment can be just as complex as a divorce action. The courts may need to divide property and debts in the course of annulling your North Carolina marriage. However, there is option for spousal support or alimony after an annulment as there can be after a divorce. On the other hand, if one party was receiving alimony from a previous divorce, those payments—which may have ceased on remarriage—can be reinstated if the new marriage is annulled.
The guidance you need
The limited grounds for annulment and the complexity of these cases make it almost impossible for a non-attorney to successfully obtain an annulment in North Carolina without legal assistance. Even determining whether your case qualifies under the law is a formidable task.
Speaks Law Firm stands ready to assist you. Call us locally at 910-341-7570 or toll-free from anywhere in the state at 877-593-4233. Our experienced North Carolina marriage lawyers can provide you with the advice and legal knowledge you need to move forward with your annulment or divorce case in a way that secures you the best available results.
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